World

Big boost for Arcadia

…as the company eyes premium glass, ceramic markets

TINASHE MAKICHI

African lithium developer, Prospect Resources, has said its lithium to iron ratio is suitable for the premium glass and ceramics market, in a major boost for the company.

There are few mines in the world able to supply the premium-priced, ultra-low iron, and the technical market for spodumene or petalite, the company said.

Prospect said the result places Arcadia’s spodumene as one of the lowest iron products in the world comparable to Talison Lithium’s Greenbushes mine.

This not only places Arcadia’s spodumene as a premium product for the chemical market but presents an opportunity to sell an ultra-low iron spodumene and petalite blended product into the glass and ceramics market, the company said.

“We expect this blended product will achieve a premium price in the market because we can design the blend for each customer depending on their required lithium to iron ratio and therefore supply a finished product,” Prospect Resources managing director Sam Hosack said.

“The opportunity for Prospect to produce a technical grade ultra-low iron blended product of Arcadia spodumene and petalite has the potential to deliver a fit for purpose product for glass ceramics customers and achieve higher sales prices across.”

Hosack said the company expects such a move should provide a positive economic uplift, compared to simply selling the Arcadia spodumene to the chemical market.

He said Arcadia is unique in having the only joint ore reserve committee compliant lithium pegmatite in the world able to produce ultra-low iron spodumene, petalite and tantalum products.

In the outlook, Hosack said the focus will now be on understanding the positive impact on the mine’s economics, the subsequent increase in revenue, upgrade to the ore reserve and a potential increase in mine life.

A metallurgical test work programme involving preflotation of Spodumene ahead of Petalite flotation was carried out in June 2020 by an independent specialist company in Germany.

The petalite and spodumene concentrates generated from this test work were subsequently subjected to a magnetic separation step in order to reduce the residual consistent with Arcadia flow sheet, the company said.

Prospect Resources is a battery minerals company with a focus on lithium in and around Zimbabwe, with the flagship project being the 87% owned Arcadia Lithium project, located on the outskirts of Harare in Zimbabwe.

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